UKOOG Comment on Guardian Article

21st July 2022

Commenting on an article in the Guardian Newspaper, Charles McAllister, Director at UK Onshore Oil and gas said:

“First and foremost there is nothing from a new infrastructure perspective that can mitigate the 2022/23 energy crisis, as it is a legacy issue. That is why the treasury was forced to bail out British citizens to the tune of £37 billion this year, the equivalent of 80% of the GDP of Northern Ireland. 


On geology, the Nottingham University study, which we have rebutted before, took data from a core well which was decommissioned before hydraulic fracturing took place. It should be interpreted as the worst possible scenario. Core samples taken from the well at the springs road site show a high quality resource and the flow test at Preston New Road demonstrated that this high quality gas will flow to surface. More testing is needed to properly appraise the abundant natural gas formation under our feet. 


In terms of pace, UK shale gas can deliver more energy per kilometre squared per year than any other UK technology, so to say we shouldn’t develop UK shale gas because it wouldn’t address this years energy crisis misses the point entirely. 


UK shale gas development can reduce UK gas prices in three ways. 


Firstly, we can reduce gas prices for residents local to our 2 hectare sites through our community benefits package. Polling by YouGov showed that a majority of residents in Northern England would back fracking if they got 25% off their energy bills. 


Secondly, by not developing UK shale gas we effectively lock ourself into over reliance on LNG imports. The tightness in LNG markets over the next decades has been forecast to grow significantly, meaning the UK will have to outbid any of the 43 nations at present that import LNG. The more self sufficient the UK is, the less we have to send up high price signals to attract these tankers. 


Thirdly, UKOOG’s members would be willing to engage to sell UK shale gas to proximal blue hydrogen production facilities of the future at contracted prices. Doing so is not unprecedented nationally or internationally. 


The Guardian piece conveniently ignores the other benefits of shale gas production, including but not limited to; a reduction in the UK’s gas supply carbon footprint, investment to level up the UK economy, tax revenue, local business rates and increased energy security. 


In terms of the moratorium, it was applied based on a report which assessed the largest event from the PNR 1z well, which was the equivalent of dropping a honeydew melon according to Liverpool university. Even looking at the largest event, the surface vibration was around one half of what is permitted at UK construction sites and it lasted for a total of 2 seconds. 


Polarising the debate to focus on gas demand reduction or renewables alone ignores the fact that under the Climate Change Committee's balanced scenario, where the UK adds the equivalent of the worlds largest offshore wind farm to generating capacity every 10 weeks, the natural gas shortfall between North Sea production and UK demand out to 2050 is around 1 trillion cubic metres. At Q1 2022 prices, that would mean £1 trillion being sent overseas to line the pockets of foreign producers.


To meet the goals of net zero and the Energy Security Strategy, we need an all in approach and shale gas must be part of that portfolio, or we will continue to drift deeper into reliance on foreign sources.”